Note to the attention of Ms Georgieva
Vice-President of the Commission
Object: Decision of additional allowance assigned to the Heads of Representations in the MS
R&D was unpleasantly surprised to learn that DG COMM has decided, without any social dialogue, to grant an allowance of around EUR 1000 per month to the Heads of Representations, Deputy Heads of Representations, Heads of Regional Representations, Heads of Sectors, Press Officers, Political Reporters … assigned to EU representations, to subsidise the expenses incurred in their social life and intended to improve their “diplomatic” relationships! Furthermore, and exclusively for the beneficiaries of this payment, the institution will also grant an accommodation allowance.
This represents the tidy sum of EUR 2.6 million per year. To compensate these additional expenses, DG Budget imposed a cut of “20 posts elsewhere” (sic!).
This more than “generous” decision was supposedly justified in order to improve the attractiveness of these jobs.
Considering the constraints on administrative expenditures in the EU budget, and the freeze in salaries, this measure really creates double standards and provokes to the following comments from R&D.
On one hand, to boost the attractiveness of these jobs, SG, DG COMM and DG HR could usefully start by improving the transparency and credibility of the appointment and rotation procedures for these posts.
Indeed, colleagues no longer have confidence in these procedures as they are managed on a purely political basis with the results being consistently well-known in advance! Posts of Heads of Representations in some European capitals including Paris, Madrid, Rome have been vacant for several months or even for more than one year and filled with interims. Malicious minds might believe that these positions are awaiting the landing of some paratroopers…
On the other hand, we are surprised by the gap between the generosity of this decision and the austerity imposed by our institution on the weakest categories of Staff.
Under these circumstances, how not to share the anger and even disgust of our Local Agent colleagues working in these representations to whom any compensation for the 40H/week was refused under the name of austerity, while the allowance so generously offered to the administrators category is half of their monthly salary?
Moreover, how can we reconcile this measure with the most restrictive attitudes advocated by DG HR, for example in the file concerning our post-2004 colleagues in the ongoing negotiations on the GIP for Contract Agents? In this case, rather than improving the conditions of our colleagues, the administration is primarily looking to generate savings. What is more, concerning the discussions on our colleagues in Luxembourg whose wages are below the legal minimum, the administration proposes just a compensation of a few euros (sic!),
It is increasingly clear that we are witnessing the establishment of a two-speed European civil service with a politicised elite, to whom everything is permitted and guaranteed in terms of recruitment, appointment, promotion and other benefits, and the rest of staff suffering from penny-pinching savings.
Under these circumstances it is not necessary to wait for the results of each Staff Survey to see, once again, the increasing demotivation of our staff.
Such demotivation that can only grow if, after fine words, facts are not followed by real changes in practices.
In view of the above and having appreciated your efforts and the political commitment that you have taken to ensure a more equitable application of the procedures for managing staff, and in order to ensure compliance with social dialogue which is under your political responsibility, we would like to know your opinions on:
1) the opportunity of the decision of DG COMM and your position on the procedure which was followed for its adoption excluding any social dialogue;
2) the “acceptable” character and “reasonable” nature of the decision to cut 20 jobs to fund the granting of such compensation;
3) the measures to be implemented to solve , with dignity and in a balanced way this time, the undeniable problems of attracting candidates for many other jobs and profiles taking into account the progressive degradation of working conditions due to reforms and successive decisions.